This month, CNO Christine Beasley has been working with directors of nursing across the NHS on the government’s listening exercise
At the beginning of the month I met with directors of nursing from across the NHS at the CNO Spring Business Meetings. These meetings provided an opportunity to focus on and debate the four key themes of the government’s listening exercise: Choice and Competition, Public Accountability and Patient Involvement, Clinical Advice and Leadership, and Education and Training.
Members of the NHS Future Forum attended to listen to the debate and Minister for Health Anne Milton joined us at one of the meetings, where she heard about people’s main concerns around the proposed changes.
I know that many discussions and events have taken place across the country, in addition to the opportunity to contribute online, and I hope that you were able to take part. I am aware of the important contribution that many of you will have made - raising concerns, voicing your opinions, sharing good practice and offering solutions - and I would like to thank you for taking part in this important process. The NHS Future Form will be reporting back to the government, who will respond in the next few weeks.
Another topic directors of nursing were keen to discuss was the National Quality Board’s recent publication, Maintaining and improving quality during the transition: safety, effectiveness, experience. In order to manage the period of change ahead, we need to learn from within the NHS and other industries what strategies can be applied to reduce and mitigate any risks to quality.
The report is the first in a two-phase review about maintaining and improving quality during the transition and beyond. Building on the February 2010 Review of early warning systems in the NHS, it emphasises how quality must remain the guiding principle as organisations move to implement NHS modernisation, and makes it clear that healthcare professionals are ultimately responsible for the quality of care provided to patients. Focusing on 2011/12, the report goes on to describe the key roles and responsibilities for maintaining and improving quality; suggests practical steps to safeguard quality during the transition; and emphasises the importance of the effective handover of knowledge and intelligence on quality.
This applies not just to old and new organisations but also to some of our day-to-day working patterns and routines. For instance, we have evidence that the most risky time in clinical care is handover and the mitigating actions we can take include raising any concerns, listening to and acting on feedback from patients and the public and reporting patient safety incidents. I recommend the report and the learning we can take from it to help make real improvements to quality and safety across the NHS.